A&E Networks is embarking on a major expansion into the South Korean market, acquiring a strategic stake in Korea’s IHQ Inc. A&E Networks has also purchased two local channels, FoodTV and TVIS, which will be widely distributed on a range of platforms through partnership with IHQ and its majority shareholder, D’Live Co., Ltd.
As part of the operation, TVIS and FoodTV will be rebranded in Korea as History and Lifetime, respectively, in 2017. Both channels will feature a mixture of original local content as well as A&E’s most internationally popular franchises. A&E will also launch digital content and products through partnership with IHQ, and work to exploit regional growth opportunities for IHQ brands and content outside Korea.
“This is a broad and ambitious partnership that enables A+E Networks to create a content production engine across all platforms, and will provide growth opportunities across a region that is of critical strategic importance to us,” said Edward Sabin, Managing Director, Americas + Head of Commercial Operations, International, A+E Networks. “In addition, the acquisition and partnership underscore A+E Networks’ commitment to creating high quality content and growing the relevance of the History and Lifetime brands among Korean audiences. All of this on the back of two well-penetrated local channels that give us powerful launch pads for our brands, both corporately for A+E Networks as well as for History and Lifetime. We look forward to working closely with IHQ to execute on this vision.”
“A+E Networks venture into the Korean market is truly a groundbreaking event. A deal of this significance is unprecedented in the Korean media and content market. It is also meaningful in that A+E Networks’ entry will pave the way for further advancement of the Korean content industry,” said YJ Jeon, CEO of IHQ and D’Live. “The alliance is also a major step forward for IHQ as it will help with our efforts to expand at the global level and enable IHQ to be more aggressive in expanding its content and media operations. Furthermore, we expect the strategic investment to further increase the potential value proposition of D’Live and IHQ.”
The deal will be subject to regulatory approval.